Calling the Devialet Gold Phantom a Bluetooth speaker is akin to calling the Harmony of the Seas a rubber dinghy, although Bluetooth and wireless connectivity in general are significant aspects of its appeal. They make it a standalone product and therefore an attractive proposition as an all-round audio system, even though it is definitely in the high-end speaker category.
You can connect a mobile device or computer to it wirelessly and play music through a Wi-Fi connection, Bluetooth (including aptX) and even Spotify Connect. There is an optical audio input on the rear in case you do fancy feeding it something a little more conventional, but its raison d’être is to provide the best wire-free performance money can buy.
Many other speaker systems offer similar functionality, but not on this scale. Why? Well, we can give you 4,500 reasons for starters.
We’ve reviewed a Devialet Phantom speaker on Pocket-lint before: the Silver Phantom. That particular model offers a crazy 3,000W of amplification power, but that’s chicken feed in comparison to the power output of the Gold version. It provides a mind-numbing, ear-bending 4,500W of amplification. That’s 4,500W of sheer audio muscle, battering into your earholes like a SWAT team destroying a front door… using a 18-wheeler truck.
Consider that the overall power output of the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless, with its tweeters, drivers and sub combined, is capable of 150W of amplification and you can put the Gold Phantom in context. It is 30 times more powerful than one of the best wireless speaker systems on the market.
Yet it’s only just over four times the price.
Power isn’t everything though. Indeed, unless you have a hankering for never being able to hear again we doubt you’ll ever experience the Devialet at its maximum grunt. Instead, it is control that you should seek and, considering the demo we had of the Gold Phantom, it has that in abundance too.
Its bandwidth runs from 14Hz to 27kHz (@-6dB) which results in bass levels that you can feel in your lungs to highs effectively beyond your hearing capabilities. There is also a titanium tweeter (over the aluminium ones in the regular Phantom and Silver Phantom) to produce pinpoint accuracy.
In reality, that gives clarity and precision to audio. If the note, drum beat or even squeaking on the recording studio chair was recorded, you’ll hear it.
We checked it out in our short demo time with The Who’s Baba O’Riley – something we always test speaker systems with – and it sounded as good as we’ve ever heard it. And that was in a normal living room, not a dedicated listening area.
The speaker was being tested using Tidal, which is built into the dedicatedDevialet application, but any other music source can be added. You can feed it low or high res tracks and it will play them to their maximum performance. It is, quite simply, excellent.
Of course, excellence comes at a price; £2,190/$3,285 in this instance. That doesn’t even include the “Tree” stand, which comes at an extra £339/$5,098. So you are effectively dropping £2,500/$3,750 on it. It can be placed on a desktop or shelf, but considering the compression subwoofers fire outwards and therefore move around more dramatically than a kid full of Irn Bru, you’ll want a stand to reduce ambient resonance.
Devialet also recommends that, if you want the best experience, you need a stereo pair – which would give you a 2.2 configuration. So that’s around £5,000/$7,500 in total – a healthy investment.
However, from our experience with the Gold Phantom, if you are looking for the best, you have to be willing to pay for it.
We’d need more time with one to absolutely know for sure, but from our brief dalliance with the latest model, this is definitely in the right ballpark.